A Pilot Study on Daily Intensive ECT over 8 Days Improved Positive and Negative Symptoms and General Psychopathology of Patients with Treatment-Resistant Schizophrenia up to 4 Weeks after Treatment

Davarinejad, Omran; Hendesi, Koorosh; Shahi, Hassan; Brand, Serge; Khazaie, Habibollah
December 2018
Neuropsychobiology;2018/2019, Vol. 77 Issue 2, p83
Academic Journal
Objective: For patients with treatment-resistant schizophrenia (TRS) who do not respond to drug therapy, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is often employed as an additional treatment. The aims of the present study were to investigate to what extent an 8-day daily ECT treatment might reduce symptoms of schizophrenia among patients with TRS both in the short term (end of the treatment) and medium term, that is 4 and 12 weeks after the treatment. Methods: Fourteen patients with TRS based on DSM-5 criteria took part in the present study. ECT consisted of daily sessions for 8 consecutive days. At baseline, at the end of the intervention, and 4 and 12 weeks after study completion, trained psychiatrists assessed the patients' disease severity (positive and negative symptoms; psychopathology) and cognitive functions. Results: Disease symptoms (positive and negative symptoms; psychopathology) became reduced from baseline to the end of the intervention and to 4 weeks after treatment. Twelve weeks after the intervention symptoms again increased. Cognitive functions decreased from baseline to the end of the study and 4 weeks after treatment. However, by 12 weeks after the intervention, cognitive functions had returned to baseline levels. Conclusion: The pattern of results suggests that an intensive 8-day daily course of ECT reduced psychiatric symptoms (positive and negative symptoms, psychopathology) in both the short and medium term among patients with TRS. The increase in symptoms between 4 and 12 weeks following intervention suggests that booster sessions of ECT could be beneficial.


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